Statistical Interpolation of Spatially Varying but Sparsely Measured 3D Geo-Data Using Compressive Sensing and Variational Bayesian Inference

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19 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171–1199
Journal / PublicationMathematical Geosciences
Issue number6
Online published27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


Real geo-data are three-dimensional (3D) and spatially varied, but measurements are often sparse due to time, resource, and/or technical constraints. In these cases, the quantities of interest at locations where measurements are missing must be interpolated from the available data. Several powerful methods have been developed to address this problem in real-world applications over the past several decades, such as two-point geo-statistical methods (e.g., kriging or Gaussian process regression, GPR) and multiple-point statistics (MPS). However, spatial interpolation remains challenging when the number of measurements is small because a suitable covariance function is difficult to select and the parameters are challenging to estimate from a small number of measurements. Note that a covariance function form and its parameters are key inputs for some methods (e.g., kriging or GPR). MPS is a non-parametric simulation method that combines training images as prior knowledge for sparse measurements. However, the selection of a suitable training image for continuous geo-quantities (e.g., soil or rock properties) faces certain difficulties and may become increasingly complicated when the geo-data to be interpolated are high-dimensional (e.g., 3D) and exhibit non-stationary (e.g., with unknown trends or non-stationary covariance structure) and/or anisotropic characteristics. This paper proposes a non-parametric approach that systematically combines compressive sensing and variational Bayesian inference for statistical interpolation of 3D geo-data. The method uses sparse measurements and their locations as the input and provides interpolated values at unsampled locations with quantified interpolation uncertainty as the output. The proposed method is illustrated using a series of numerical 3D examples, and the results indicate a reasonably good performance.

Research Area(s)

  • Bayesian compressive sensing, Data-driven approach, Non-parametric interpolation, Spatial data, Uncertainty quantification